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Renouf: Old, unwanted habits return to haunt Dragons, Warriors

Twos clubs who were playing finals footy last season are now faced with the prospect of that notion being a one-off with the Dragons and Warriors heading back to the drawing board after underwhelming years.

Both clubs have many variables and differences but find themselves in positions they've been all too familiar with in previous years to frustrate each fan base for contrasting reasons. 

My frustration with the Dragons has been around all season when you look at their roster full of Origin and Test experience.

There is no question they've had their off-field troubles and injuries at key stages but it's still a good team they roll out on paper and I beg to ask the question what's happened there.

It looks like they're going through what they went through a couple of years ago where they're failing to convert any solid position.

They can't get over the line with just 325 points scored this season but what surprises me most about that is they aren't finding points out wide when Mary McGregor was one of the best centres in the game.

Dragons v Titans - Round 21

Now before people think I'm joining in on the growing chorus of Dragons fans wanting Paul McGregor gone; I'm definitely not trying to oust Mary here because I love the bloke.

But a seasoned coach like Wayne Bennett would think he could've done something with the team this year.

So, has Mary lost the dressing room?

I can't answer that or what happens internally at the Dragons but the players aren't playing to their best standards and something has got to change.

In the general coaching terms, if you don't respect and stop believing a coach when he's telling you something then that is a big problem.

Coaches don't change too much to what their general thinking is throughout the year. They all have their own style and implement that at the start of the season and that's drilled into you as a team unit.

You're not going to waver too far off that. Coaches can be stubborn and keep saying it will work but then you've got players thinking he's saying the same thing and it's not working.

I think they've all got a reason to be disappointed, especially Mary, because for next year I don't think they should recruit anyone and that's saying something. They've got a good roster capable of more. 

They've had their big pack for a while now, they've been together for a couple of seasons and as an outside back you'd love to be playing behind that engine room. It's certainly a wasted year. 

Then there is the Warriors. Another club who broke into the finals after a long drought but are now back in the bottom eight trying to salvage something from their year.

Warriors v Sea Eagles - Round 21

It's a typical Warriors season, it's what we've come to see over the years and it's a shame they can't shake that because I thought this year they could've backed up their efforts even without Shaun Johnson.

I can feel the frustration from Stephen Kearney across the ditch. He's been more animated than ever in recent weeks because the pressure is there.

He is not naturally a person to yell at his side and kick a towel across the room like what we saw at half-time against the Raiders.

I've known him a long time and he's not like that. Seriously, who would want to be a coach? You couldn't pay me enough to be in their position.

When he was at the Broncos as an assistant coach the feedback I got back from players was positive. Prior to that he'd had a chequered history with Parramatta.

Instead of shifting blame onto coaches I would like to see a lot more responsibility on other people in club's who make big decisions.

For the Warriors, I'd be looking at people around the club who have been there before Stephen was there. Do they play a part? Should there be a change up in the off-field ranks there?

I always say where are the people who are making these decisions? When are they ever held accountable?

Kodi Nikorima was a welcomed addition for the Warriors but needs more time. In this game sometimes there isn't enough.

Either way both clubs need to finish the year strong and re-focus on next season because they have rosters to compete with the best and ensure their 2018 finals campaign was not just a one-off appearance.


The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

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